Becoming a Barber

A barber has the task of providing hair care services in order to enhance the appearance of clients. Barbers normally work with male clients. However, many women use barber services as well. Barbers not only provide hair care services to clients, they also provide skin care treatments and hair coloring services and many other appearance enhancing solutions.

Educational Requirements

A career as a barber requires a high school diploma or GED along with vocational or post secondary education from a State certified school. The qualifications necessary to obtain a license vary by state. Generally an individual must be at least 16 years of age, and must have successfully completed training at a licensed barber or cosmetology school in order to practice. After graduating from a training program, the student must take a licensing examination issued by the state. The exam will consist of a written test, and will often include a practical skills test or an oral examination. Passing the exam is required in order to practice in this field.

Necessary Skills

Necessary skills required to work as a barber include the ability to trim, cut, shampoo and style hair. Barbers must also be able to fit hair pieces, offer scalp treatments to clients and shave facial hair. In some states, barbers are licensed to bleach, color and highlight hair as well as offer permanent curl and wave treatment services. Skin care treatment skills, such as scalp irritation or razor bump care are also necessary skills for barbers as many clients will require these services.

Jobs and Career Outlook

Barber careers are projected to grow much faster than average. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, personal appearance careers will grow by 20% by the year 2018. There will be a great need to replace workers who are retiring, transferring to new occupations and who are leaving the labor force. Many barbers also choose to be self-employed. They either own their own barbershops, or lease spaces in beauty salons, hotels and day spas. Barbers who own their own shops have the option of leasing spaces to other barbers in order to increase their revenue, or they can work as a solo operation. Barbers who work on their own are required to supply their own personal and hair care products and must also manage their own taxes and purchase business insurance. As a barber you could except to earn an average of $27,710 annually.

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